Speed Reads

qanon shutdown

Facebook will ban all QAnon accounts in its biggest content moderation step ever

Facebook is cracking down on dangerous disinformation spreading across its site.

The company will ban all QAnon groups, accounts, and pages and from Facebook and Instagram, the company announced Tuesday. While it won't go after individual QAnon posts, NBC News' Ben Collins, who has covered QAnon's rise from obscure to mainstream social media, tweeted that the ban was "the most sweeping content moderation step I've seen from any social media company so far."

The QAnon conspiracy theory falsely purports President Trump is leading a fight against a pedophilic ring of elites and Democrats, and often wishes violence upon those targets. Someone — or multiple people — posing as an alleged high-ranking government official known as Q has been spreading this disinformation for the past three years, and it has since spread onto mainstream social media and even into Trump rallies.

Facebook started banning QAnon accounts that advocated violence over the summer. But now, Facebook is considering QAnon to be among "militarized social movements" such as militia and terrorist groups. So "starting today," it will take down "Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts for representing QAnon," Facebook said in a press release. Work to remove these accounts will "continue in the coming days and weeks," with content moderation led by Facebook's Dangerous Organizations Operations team. Moderators will likely face a challenge in identifying QAnon-related posts, as its followers have recently moved to camouflage the movement under the guise of protecting children, NBC News notes.